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The Daulatabad fort with a tunnel entrance, cannon post, and narrow access bridge
|• Official||Urdu ,Marathi|
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Devagiri (Daultabad of the later period), 11kms north-west of Aurangabad, is a famous for its formidable hill fort. The fort is situated on an isolated cone-shaped hill rising abruptly from the plain to the height of about 190 metres. The fortification constitutes of three concentric lines of defensive walls with large number of bastions. The noteworthy features of the fort are the moat, the scarp and the sub-terranean passage, all hewn of solid rock. The upper outlet of the passage was filled with an iron grating, on which a large fire could be used to prevent the progress of the enemy. The Chand Minar, the Chini Mahal and the Baradari are the important structures within the fort.
The Chand Minar, about 63 metres in height, was erected by Alauddin Bahman Shah in 1435 AD to conquest of Daulatabad. Opposite the Minar is the Jumma masjid, whose pillars originally belonged to a temple. Close to it, there is a large masonry tank. The Chini Mahal at the end of the lower for is the place where Abdul Hasan Tana Shah, the last king Golconda, was confined by Aurangzeb in 1687 AD. Nearby is a round bastion topped with a huge canon with ram’s head, called Kila Shikan or Fort breaker. The Baradari, octagonal in shape, stands near the summit of the fort. The principal bastion at the summit also carries a large canon.
Though the city of Devagiri was founded in 1187 AD by the Yadava king Bhillan V, the fort was constructed during the reign of Singhana II (1210-46 AD). It was captured by Ala-ud-Din Kalji in 12 94 AD, marking the first Muslim invasion of the Deccan. Finally in 1318 AD, Malik Kafur killed last Yadava Raja, Harapal. Then in 1327 AD, Muhammed-bin-Tughluq sought to make it his capital, by transferring the entire population of Delhi and changing the name from Devagiri to Daulatabad. Then it was in the possession of the Bhamanis till 1526 AD. The fort remained in Mughal control till Aurangzeb’s death in 1707 AD., when it passed on to the Nizam of Hyderabad. The famous Ellora Caves are just 16kms away
Fort of Daulatabad
The area of the city includes the hill-fortress of Daulatabad (Urdu, Marathi देवगिरी) (sometimes Latinised to Deogiri). It stands on a conical hill, about 200 meters high. Much of the lower slopes of the hill has been cut away by Yadava dynasty rulers to leave 50 meter vertical sides to improve defenses. The fort is a place of extraordinary strength. The only means of access to the summit is by a narrow bridge, with passage for not more than two people abreast, and a long gallery, excavated in the rock, which has for the most part a very gradual upward slope.
About midway along this gallery, the access gallery has steep stairs, the top of which is covered by a grating destined in time of war to form the hearth of a huge fire kept burning by the garrison above. At the summit, and at intervals on the slope, are specimens of massive old cannon facing out over the surrounding countryside. Also at the mid way, there is a cave entrance meant to confuse the enemies.
Daulatabad (190 57’ N; 750 15’ E) is located at a distance of 15 km northwest of Aurangabad, the district headquarters and midway to Ellora group of caves. The original widespread capital city is now mostly unoccupied and has been reduced to a village. Much of its survival depends on the tourists to the old city and the adjacent fort.
Daulatabad or ‘the abode of wealth’ was the name given by Muhammad-bin-Tughluq when he made his capital here in A.D. 1327. The ancient name being ‘Devagiri’ or ‘Deogiri’ meaning ‘Hill of Gods’ under the Yadavas of Deogiri. The Yadavas were initially ruling under the Chalukyas of Kalyani over region of modern Dhulia and Nasik districts with their capital at Chandradityapura (modern Chandor, Nasik district). Bhillama V who was one of the powerful Yadava rulers led victorious campaigns against the Hoysalas, Paramaras and Chalukyas founded the city of Deogiri and shifted his capital here. Since then the succeeding Yadava rulers held their capital here. During the rule of Ramachandradeva, son of Krishna, Ala-ud-din Khilji invaded and captured Deogiri in A.D. 1296. However, Ramachandradeva was allowed to rule from here as a vassal. Later, Malik Kafur led two campaigns against Ramachandradeva and his son Shankardeva in A.D. 1306-07 and 1312 respectively; Shankardeva was killed during the latter campaign. Harapaladeva was placed on the throne by Malik Kafur who later ascertained his independence. This led to another successful campaign against Deogiri by Qutb-ud-din Mubarak Shah Khilji and the fort was annexed to the Delhi Sultanate. Muhammad-bin-Tughluq succeeded the Khiljis at Delhi and he renamed Deogiri as Daulatabad and seeing its impregnable fort, shifted the capital from Delhi in A.D. 1328. This led to serious repercussions and he had to again transfer the capital back to Delhi. The region and the fort passed on into the hands of Bahamani rulers under Hasan Gangu in A.D. 1347 and Nizam Shahis of Ahmednagar in A.D. 1499. Daulatabad became the capital of Nizam Shah dynasty in 1607 A.D. Deccan witnessed turbulent periods due to the frequent invasions and infights between the local ruling families during this period. The Mughals led several campaigns during the rule of Akbar and Shah Jahan and only during the latter’s period the area was fully captured in 1633 A.D. after a long siege of four months. Thus the Mughals seized power and Aurangazeb was placed as the Viceroy of Deccan who led his campaigns to Bijapur and Golconda from Daulatabad. The rising power of Marathas troubled the Mughals and for a brief period the region passed under the control of Marathas. Thus the Daulatabad fort passed several hands, captured and re-captured, by the Mughals, the Marathas, the Peshwas, and finally placed under the control of the Nizams of Hyderabad in 1724 A.D. which was under their control till independence.
The outer wall, 2.75 miles (4.43 km) in circumference, once enclosed the ancient city of Deogiri (Devagiri), and between this and the base of the upper fort are three lines of defences.
Besides the fortifications Daulatabad contains several notable monuments, of which the chief are the Chand Minar and the Chini Mahal. The Chand Minar is a tower 210 ft (64 m). high and 70 ft (21 m). in circumference at the base, and was originally covered with beautiful Persian glazed tiles. It was erected in 1445 by Ala-ud-din Bahmani to commemorate his capture of the fort. The Chini Mahal, or China Palace, is the ruin of a building once of great beauty. In it Abul Hasan Tana Shah, the last of the Qutb Shahi kings of Golconda, was imprisoned by Aurangzeb in 1687.
Daulatabad rail station is located on the Kachiguda-Manmad section of the Nanded Division of South Central Railway. Until reorganisation in 2012 , it was a part of the Hyderabad Division Aurangabad is a major station near to Daulatabad.
- Daulatabad at the Islamic Monuments of India Photographic Database
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